A 2019 report by ACHI on Arkansas’s experience as the first and only state to implement a work and community engagement requirement for enrollees in its Medicaid expansion program is highlighted in a new Health Affairs blog post.
The requirement was blocked by a judge’s order in March 2019, but by that time more than 18,000 Arkansans had lost coverage due to non-compliance. In March of this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rescinded its approval of the requirement at the request of the Biden administration.
Health Affairs offers this summary of ACHI’s findings:
“In early 2019, researchers with the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement interviewed 32 health care, educational, and community organizations across Arkansas that the state identified as sources of assistance for enrollees in meeting the work and community engagement requirement. Among these organizations, more than one-third reported having no knowledge or understanding of the requirement, and fewer than 10 organizations reported having the capacity to help enrollees with things such as calling the Medicaid helpline or assisting with exemption documentation. At the same time, very few organizations reported receiving requests for assistance from people in their community regarding the requirement.
“While these findings are based on a limited sample, they are notable given the extensive efforts by Arkansas state officials and their partners to communicate the requirement to both enrollees and stakeholders. Despite considerable outreach, awareness of the requirement was low among some organizations that were expected to assist enrollees, and few had the capacity to provide that assistance.”
See also our timeline of healthcare coverage expansion in Arkansas.